You Look the Same

4f375ba5a8d5c959d759edfac65263d7Last year, a group of my friends did an extensive challenge for eight weeks where they worked out and didn’t eat sugar or bread or drink beer. At a brunch together after the challenge was over, my friend Maria said something like: “You know how we all felt so great after that challenge? Well, to be honest, you all looked the same to me, and no matter how you look, I love you.”

Her declaration rang like the bell at the end of yoga. We were the same. We were all her loveable friends. Of course.

Happy Sweet ’16. It’s the new year, and yet it’s still the same you.

How do you feel about that?

I’ve been the same height and weight (plus or minus 5 pounds) since I was 18.

On good days, I think I am tall and strong.

On bad days, I think I am too big and totally, disgustingly, unattractive.

You may be plus or minus way more than 5 pounds. I only know my own story and the pain in my own brain. But, plus or minus any pounds, it’s always been the same you and the same me. Geneen Roth writes:

“Consider a milk carton. No matter what you do to change its shape–switch the spout to the other side, round the corners, cut off the top–you know that what’s inside is milk. Not apple juice, not vegetable soup, but milk. But somehow we don’t know that changing how we look on the outside–shedding pounds or cinching in our waists a few inches–doesn’t change what we are, either.

Guess what? I just got my hair cut and my arms are stronger lately.

  • No one noticed my haircut.
  • Only my partner noticed my arms, and he doesn’t love me more now.
  • No one noticed me trembling in my yoga classes as my arms got stronger.
  • The people who love me still love me.
  • No one did a strength test before they decided to continue loving me.

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Inside, I have always been and always will be the same: Just milk. Unfortunately, for most of my life, I’ve thought the world was lactose intolerant.

New day, same me. New month, same me. New year, same me.

So, from a place of whole, from a place of nothing is wrong with me, from a place of tall and strong, I’ve been wondering:

  • What will I do in Sweet ‘16?
  • What goal would I enjoy?
  • What challenges in my life would add joy to the lives of people I love?

I enjoy goals and challenges. My friends have now embarked on another new fitness challenge and I’m planning several races in the Summer and Fall.

But, it’s not because I don’t think I’m good enough. It’s not because achieving my goals and running my races will make me skinnier and less disgustingly unattractive. It’s because it’s going to feel good to train. It will feel great to cross the finish line with my friends, accomplished and strong.

At the end of 2016, when I’ve experienced many plusses and minuses, when my year long equation balances out, I will be the same me.

You are the same. You are loved. From a place of whole, what will you enjoy doing? How will you add joy to the lives of the people you love? What, beautiful reader, will you achieve in this very Sweet ’16?

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